Armored Core 3
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (May 2010)|
|Armored Core 3|
North American PlayStation 2 cover art
|Composer(s)||Tsukasa Saitoh, Kota Hoshino|
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
|Genre(s)||Action, third-person shooter|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Armored Core 3 depicts a world where mankind has begun to live underneath the Earth's surface after a catastrophic global nuclear war broke out on the surface. The human beings who survived formed a subterranean society called "Layered". Layered is ruled by an artificial intelligence known as "The Controller", which dictates almost everything that happens in the world. The two major corporations, Mirage and Crest Industries, and a relatively more minor one, Kisaragi, all vie for dominance and control over the land and assets in Layered. However, not all is right with The Controller, and odd events are becoming more and more common. With the number and scope of these errors, some might even go so far as to suggest that the logic system is failing...
- The Controller - An omnipresent artificial intelligence in charge of maintaining all aspects of mankind's underground refuge, Layered. The Controller's influence is so pervasive, so tightly interwoven into even the smallest facets of everyday life, that its existence is rarely given a second thought. The lives of all who dwell in Layered are inextricably tied to it, and all major decisions that they make are decided for them by the Controller. Referred to as 'Dove' in the Japanese release.
- Mirage - Originally an industrial machine manufacturer, Mirage has matured into one of the era's leading AC development houses. The company hopes to further strengthen its position by gaining access to The Controller and administering its power to benefit Mirage's agenda; given the massive extent of The Controller's ability to manipulate the populace of Layered, this would be an unimaginably useful plan, were it to be implemented and succeed. However, it has yet to be carried out due to fear of The Controller's reprisals should they attempt to act and fail; were they to do so, it would spell total destruction for them. Mirage parts and Cores in game are shifted towards energy weapons, machine guns and mainly deals in hit and run style attacks. Mirage parts are named after certain things pending on the type of parts, For example, Power Plants are named after flowers while their weapons are named after mythological creatures
- Crest - Mirage's main competitor, Crest initially rose to power as a bioengineering concern before redirecting its efforts into the field of AC part development. Crest is just as eager to expand its interests as Mirage but is reluctant to achieve this end by manipulating The Controller; in Crest's opinion, the current system is the best anyone can hope for. Crest offers unwavering support for The Controller and strives to maintain the control of the AI at all costs. This difference in perception places Crest and Mirage at odds, making them enemies idealistically in addition to practically. Crest Parts and Cores are designed on durability and solid weaponry such bazookas and grenade launchers being their mainstay and their machines are note for being durable. Their naming conventions are military based with code numbers starting in Last Raven
- Kisaragi - Like any corporate entity, Kisaragi strives to grow both its product line and market share, but given its somewhat small size in comparison to Crest and Mirage, only pushes the envelope when a clear advantage exists. Kisaragi's aspirations for power center mainly on surpassing their corporate rivals, and they take a very middle-of-the-road approach with regards to The Controller. Kisaragi broke into the AC development field after a successful stint as a computer manufacturer, and also seems to be working in the field of bioengineering and research. Kisaragi now bides its time, waiting for opportunities to increase its own resources, size and influence. While unable to build any type of core due to some outer core parts being unavailable, their electronic parts are often very powerful and specializing in support parts to assist the core in battle. With their Japanese Company nature, they are naturally named after Japanese myths and motifs
- Union - An underground rebel group whose core members consist of intellectuals vehemently opposed to The Controller's uncontested rule of Layered. Given the occurrences that keep happening, support for the group is growing at the beginning of the game. Because of this radical stance in regards to the Controller, Crest considers Union to be Layered's most serious threat, and has gone out of its way to try to eliminate them. Meanwhile, Union remains convinced that something is amiss in Layered and has gone so far as to claim that The Controller is malfunctioning.
- Ravens - These are the mercenaries affiliated with Global Cortex. Once one registers as a Raven with Cortex, their private computer network is used to dispatch missions, buy or sell AC parts and the like. This affiliation to Cortex, however, places no restrictions on the Ravens.
- Global Cortex - A unique organization, Global Cortex is the intermediary between corporate clients and mercenaries for hire. These mercenaries, more commonly referred to as Ravens, are pilots who operate the massive mechanized units known as Armored Cores. Though Global Cortex works closely with all of Layered's corporations, it maintains a strict level of neutrality and does not side with any of them.
- Laine Meyers - Global Cortex liaison manager responsible for the player’s mission assignments and communications support.
Many players were confused with the nature of Armored Core 3's storyline in relation to previous AC games. At the end of Another Age, the AC world appeared to be getting back on its feet after the conflicts of the subterranean era (Armored Core, Project Phantasma, Master of Arena) and the Mars crisis (Armored Core 2). However, when Armored Core 3 begins mankind is back in a subterranean city hiding from the effects of a catastrophic global nuclear war.
Two prominent theories have arisen to explain away this discrepancy. Either the game is set in the same world as the previous games and the world experienced a second "Great Destruction", or Armored Core 3 reboots the series' storyline and starts all over again from a similar starting point as the original Armored Core. The latter appears to be true.
Two different timelines were mentioned in the Armored Core 10 works complete file, one of which refers to original Armored Core and continues up to the end of Armored Core 2: Another Age. The other timeline starts with Armored Core 3, ending in Armored Core: Last Raven. The roots of Armored Core 3 began with the humanity taking refuge in underground cities after a large scale disaster occurred on the planet's surface. Centuries after that great destruction, corporations such as Mirage and Crest were established. They paved the way for the development of the first MT prototype, the XMT-01, which soon led to the development of ACs and other MTs.
Like Armored Core and Armored Core 2, you are given a trial mission to see if you are talented enough to join the mercenary group dubbed Global Cortex. New features within Armored Core 3 include consorts (additional allies that can be obtained to assist you in a mission), detachable weapons (thereby lessening your total weight and increasing speed), and a new Core classification; Exceed Orbit (EO) which sacrifices the power of Overboost and allows you to deploy a built-in, autonomous weapon on your Core. This game has support for a USB Mouse.
Armored Core 3 Portable
The PlayStation 2 version of Armored Core 3 received mostly positive reception from American critics. IGN's review praised the game's somewhat easier difficulty compared to Armored Core 2, the relaxed restrictions on AC design, and the new weapons added to the game. They criticized the control scheme however, and rated the game 7.3 out of 10.
GameSpot praised the improved plot and varied environments featured in the story missions, but also criticized the lack of Dual Analog controls and the lack of improved graphics. They rated the game with a 7.5 out of 10.
- Official website (Japanese)